Volume 91, Issue 66

Tuesday, January 27, 1998



Greater than any expectations

©Gazette file photo
MASTURBATORY MATERIAL FOR ADULTS. Gwyneth Paltrow stars in Great Expectations as Estella, the love interest in the movie adaptation of the Dickens classic.

By John Intini

Gazette Staff

If there is any rolling going on in Charles Dickens' grave this weekend it will simply be in an attempt to get a better view – when the brilliant interpretation of his classic Great Expectations hits the big screen on Friday.

Director Alphonso Cuaron takes the classic novel written by Dickens and similar to Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet two years ago, puts a modern twist on the classic love story.

The film starts out in a small Florida fishing town in the late 1970s where Finnigen Bell (the film name for Dickens' Pip) meets up for a short time with Lustig, played by Robert DeNiro, an escaped convict who is attempting to elude the police. Finn helps the convict and heads back to his impoverished life with his uncle Joe. Soon after, Finn is united with the young Estella, who lives with her aunt, played by Anne Bancroft.

Bancroft's wittiness sparks the early scenes of the film, adding an ideal touch of humour to the story. Finn finds himself in love with Estella, who all through adolescence plays the perfect tease, leading him to the water but never letting him taste.

Two of the best looking and finest young actors, Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow, play the main roles of Finn and Estella. On countless occasions the two stars create near magical moments on the screen.

Estella moves away, leaving the young Finn broken-hearted only to be re-united in New York after Finn receives a suspicious offer to move there to put on an art show, thanks to the financial support from an anonymous benefactor. Sadly, upon arriving in New York Finn finds out that Estella is engaged.

Hawke played his role with a passion well beyond his "I'm nothin'" years, when he co-starred on the twenty-something hit Reality Bites. His acting at times is marvelous and he successfully shows in this film that he is more than just a pretty goateed face.

In poetic fashion tying in with the modern feel, Finn learns the truth of his blessed life while riding on a New York subway. It is scenes like these which clearly make the film a success. The film clearly illustrates that timeless classics can, in fact, be adapted to a modern setting while still providing the audience with the main ideas the initial author intended.

The film, which is sure to be attacked by critics for straying from the novel in a number of respects, should in fact be acclaimed for its freshness and imagination.

Charles Dickens might be dead, but thanks to this brilliant adaptation, his beautiful story of love and desire can be passed on to a whole new generation of admirers. It might not be for the purist at heart, but for a movie lover, this film is sure to surpass all expectations.

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